Celery, Blue Cheese and Hazelnut Salad

SaladBlue CheeseCeleryHazelnut

Festive celery salad, perfect for entertaining! With sliced celery, dates, blue cheese, topped with maple-glazed hazelnuts.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Here’s a festive salad for the holidays, and one that I think would be especially good paired with prime rib or roast beef.

Blue cheese and celery is a classic combination and is especially good with the additions of dates (or dried cranberries) for sweetness and maple-glazed toasted hazelnuts.

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Yes, it’s a little fussy, but it’s the holidays! And so worth it.

The recipe comes via my friend Peg’s glamorous friend Katie Sullivan (thank you Katie!).

Celery Salad with Dates, Hazelnuts, Blue Cheese

Celery, Blue Cheese and Hazelnut Salad Recipe

  • Prep time: 1 hour
  • Yield: Serves 4-8

To save time, start by roasting the hazelnuts. While they roast, you can prep all the other ingredients. Celery bunches come in different sizes, so the amounts here are a little inexact. Just make sure you have enough blue cheese so that you get a little with every bite of the celery.


  • 6 ounces good quality blue cheese
  • 3/4 cup hazelnuts
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 tablespoons maple Syrup
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • Salt
  • 2-3 bunches of celery, tops removed
  • 12-15 pitted dates (can sub with a handful of dried cranberries or cherries)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (or hazelnut oil if you happen to have it)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 4 teaspoons lemon juice (if using Meyer lemons, use 2 Tbsp)
  • Freshly ground black pepper


1 Remove cheese from refrigerator to come to room temperature.

2 Roast hazelnuts: Place hazelnuts on a rimmed baking sheet in a 300°F oven for 30 minutes.

3 Prep celery and dates: While the nuts are roasting, prepare the other ingredients. Use a vegetable peeler to peel away the tough outer strings of the stalks of celery. Slice the celery stalks on the diagonal into 1/4-inch thick slices.

Slice the dates lengthwise first in half, then slice the halves lengthwise into 3 or four pieces. If the dates are on the large size, you may want to slice them in half widthwise first. You want to end up with pieces that are about an inch long and a 1/4 inch wide.

4 Rub outer skin off hazelnuts: Once the hazelnuts have roasted for half an hour, remove them from the oven, let cool for a few minutes. Then rub the hazelnuts together inside of a clean dish towel to remove as much of the outer dark skin as you can.

Celery Salad Rub Skins off of hazelnuts

5 Glaze hazelnuts: Melt butter in a small skillet. Add a pinch of cayenne and salt. Add the roasted hazelnuts to the pan and toast them on medium low heat for a few minutes, continuously stirring.

Glazing Hazelnuts for Celery Salad

When the hazelnuts are hot, turn off the heat and add maple syrup to the pan. Stir to coat the hazelnuts in the maple syrup.

Let glazed nuts sit in the pan to cool. Later you will scrape them loose with a wooden spoon and serve atop the salad.

6 Prepare the salad dressing: In a small jar, mix together the olive oil, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Add salt and black pepper to taste. Shake to combine.

7 Assemble salad: Layer a shallow platter or dish first with the sliced celery, then dates, then crumble the blue cheese over it and sprinkle with glazed hazelnuts. Right before serving, pour dressing over top.

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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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14 Comments / Reviews

No ImageCelery, Blue Cheese and Hazelnut Salad

Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Julia

    Delicious! Made this salad last night (substituting dry cranberries for the dates) and served it with Prime Rib, Mashed Potatoes, and Green Bean Casserole for my Dad’s Birthday dinner. Came together very quickly – surprisingly fresh with an acid zing and nice crunch. A good counter to the rest of the meal. The only reason I did not give this recipe five stars was the glazing of the hazelnuts was tedious & time-consuming on top of everything else I had to complete for the meal. Next time, I will make them ahead of time.


  2. Holly

    Looooooove this salad! And I’m not a fan of celery at all. Yes it takes some time but put on some tunes and enjoy the process. Didn’t change a thing.


  3. Cathleen

    The maple syrup never really “glazed” the hazelnuts, even though allowed to cool completely. Could I have made a mistake?

    Show Replies (1)
  4. Amy

    Made this salad on Christmas day to go with a beef tenderloin and the twice baked potatoes that are also on your site and it was a hit, as were the potatoes!


  5. Lisa

    This is amazing! My SIL was licking the plate clean. The flavors are spot on and it’s very easy to make. Thank you!


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